Village at Crystal River’s voodoo economics
At the community forum on Jan. 4, developer Rich Schierburg accused opponents of the Village at Crystal River of using outdated numbers. He attempted to ridicule us and said he lowered his estimates for business activity. Stunningly, the new numbers are even worse for local businesses and the community as a whole.
Let’s take a look at the new numbers for the fast-food restaurant he plans to build.
According to the “old” information on the town of Carbondale website – the only numbers anyone can actually find – the developer estimated that a fast-food joint will generate sales of $2.5 million per year. Of that amount, he claimed 80 percent of the spending on Big Macs will be brand-new spending – business activity that does not currently exist. Under that scenario, $500,000 spent at the fast-food restaurant will be money we would have otherwise spent at our existing eateries.
The developer now claims that the fast-food restaurant will generate $1.25 million in business annually. And of that amount, only 50 percent will be brand-new spending. The other 50 percent will come from our current spending at local restaurants. That is a profoundly worse deal for Carbondale! Fifty percent of $1.25 million is $612,500 – so instead of $500,000 coming from the bottom line for local eateries, as estimated under the “old” numbers (the only ones anyone can find), now $612,500 will be siphoned off from places like Fat Belly Burger, Peppino’s, White House Pizza, the Pour House and Dos Gringos.
Are we ready to see our local businesses close down for the sake of McDonald’s or Burger King?
Additionally, sales-tax generation for the entire project falls from $335,000 per year to somewhere between $180,000 and $220,000 per year. And it’s important to remember that those amounts will not be realized until sometime between 2020 and 2030.
The fact that Schierburg is willing to simply pull numbers out of the air shows just how shaky the economic foundation is for the Village at Crystal River.
What did not change was the 1 percent public improvement fee that will be charged to our groceries and other spending at Village at Crystal River in order to subsidize this developer and his backers. We will still be on the hook for as much as $5 million to pay for a roundabout entrance to the Village at Crystal River.
Please, vote no.
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